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Melodies on the March

Annual Band Field Show tonight at Wimer Field

The Inter-Mountain photos by Shannon Bennett Campbell The Elkins High School Band, no longer sponsor of the Field Show, will be among those competing tonight.

ELKINS — Mountain State Forest Festival bystanders will hear this evening a groundswell of uproarious applause and cheers coming from behind Wimer Field’s gates as area bands perform precision drills and play uplifting musical scores that will rival any athletic games.

Headlining this popular Festival music event will be thirty minute performances by each of three college bands. Featuring 14 high schools in competition, this evening’s Band Field Show will be held in South Elkins on Davis Avenue, the site of the original Elkins School.

Forest Festival Band Show Coordinator Jennifer Thompson explained that West Virginia Wesleyan College will open the show and the Fairmont State College Falcon Band will perform at the intermission, with Glenville State’s Pioneer Band closing at the evening’s end.

Because this year’s event is sponsored by the Tournament of Bands, judges will be selected by this group. Eligible to compete this year will be the past hosts, the Elkins High School Band.

Gates will open by 3:30 p.m. and a patron’s charge of $10 will admit adults and children with those 2 years old and under admitted free. The event will begin at 4:45 p.m. and awards will be presented at 9 p.m.

Precision marching is one criteria show judges will look for as each band begins its performance.

Thompson noted that the Elkins bleachers are usually packed to capacity with band supporters, while the visitors side is dedicated to seating the almost 20 visiting bands. For the convenience of those attending, concession stands will operate to provide drinks and some food items.

This event, which has been held for more than 30 years, provides plaques to winning bands in several categories, and also recognizes best auxiliary flag and majorette units. A $200 cash award is given for the People’s Choice selection and is annually furnished by past Elkins High School Band Director Bob Dunkerly.

The Festival Committee appreciates all who help to ensure a successful evening of competition, especially the Randolph County Board of Education, which allows the field to be prepared and used for this activity.

Most of the bands appearing at the Field Show will march in the Grand Feature Parade earlier in the day. They will expect to receive cash awards for their winning parade performances. Both Lewis County and Buckhannon-Upshur have their school homecoming festivities this week-end and will not be able to attend.

Elkins will be electric because of all the band activity today. At one point in the afternoon almost every corner of town will be listening to a different upbeat musical arrangement.

Hopefully, this jolt will excite the crowds and they will join our many visiting musical groups for the competition. Listening to the songs and supporting our young, school-age visitors is a wonderful way to welcome their talents and provide encouragement for their future as entertainers. We trust all of them will take memories home that will bring them back in years to come.